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Does Canada Need a Defence Policy Review?

By Dr. Ann Griffiths, 23 April 2022

In the budget recently presented to Parliament there is a statement that Canada needs a new/updated defence policy. This is debatable. Strong, Secure, Engaged, the current defence policy, was published only a few years ago after a broad consultative process and with great fanfare. Has the global situation changed so much that we need another review? More importantly, will the process result in the usual conclusion that Canada has three defence priorities – defence of Canada, defence of North America as part of NORAD and participation in global activities in support of friends and allies? If so, we might as well skip the process. But if a review is of broader security policy rather than just defence policy, that would be useful. This would acknowledge that as well as traditional defence concerns, Canadian security is affected by pandemics, climate change and domestic extremism. As well, since defence policy can serve as an element of a successful foreign policy, a foreign policy review is needed. So, do we need a defence policy review, or not? For an article that concludes that a review is not necessary, see Wesley Wark, “A Little More Spending and an Unnecessary Defence Review,” available at https://www.cgai.ca/a_little_more_spending_and_an_unnecessary_defence_review

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